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Should You Accept An Offer for a Role You Didn’t Apply For?

What should you do if you’ve completed every round of interviews with a company in your search for a Product Manager position and they call you back to tell you that you’re a better fit for another role?

It’s not uncommon for hiring firms and HR departments to end up with two applicants who would equally be excellent additions to the company. However, while both interviewees appear to be competent, something will eventually tip the scales in one’s favor for the role you’re competing for — perhaps one has more experience or possesses hard-to-find abilities.

However, when a company only has one Product Manager position to fill, it might be challenging to inform the other prospect that you’ve selected someone else for the job. Especially now, with labor shortages in many sectors, companies want to retain any competent candidate interested in their company. This is why they may end up offering the second-place candidate another position within the company.

If you’re in this situation, how should you handle it? Today, we’re going to cover the steps you should take when offered a position other than the Product Manager opening you applied for. For detailed insights into this subject, you can learn more at Product Gym’s podcast: My Sixth and Final Week at Product Gym | Podcast.

When You’re Offered a Role You Didn’t Apply For: Stand Your Ground

The first thing you should do is stand your ground. At the end of the day, you want to be a Product Manager, so you’re going to have to start by asking the interviewer questions to gain some clarity. Arrange a call to clear up any confusion before hopping on the next flight out for another onsite interview.

After all, it could just be some minor miscommunication between what’s expected from the job title.

If you find out that the situation is just that the company feels that you would be a better fit in a different position, you may have some things to consider.

Is It a Good Idea to Accept the Offer?

Only you can decide whether or not the new position interests you. Consider the following:

  • How quickly do you need to quit your current job or find another job?
  • Is the pay scale close to what you want?
  • Will it provide you with the opportunity to advance (particularly if that opportunity is currently unavailable in your current position)?
  • How desperately do you want to advance in your career (or just get out of your present situation)?
  • Is the work appealing to you?

Once you have asked a few questions about the new job, decide whether or not you’re actually interested. Get a sense of what the role entails. Ultimately if you decide to stay firm in your search for a Product Manager role, thank them respectfully, tell them you are not interested, and move on.

But depending on the industry or the company, you may want to take advantage of what the role offers. In this case, go ahead and pursue it! Sometimes, when the interviewer informs you that they have another position you qualified for, they might be having problems filling that position and may be interested in you.

When the interviewer recommends you for a position other than the one for which they applied, it’s typically because they’ve noticed something in you that makes for a particularly attractive prospect in their eyes. 

Occasionally, the new position is brand-new, and they haven’t yet advertised it.

How to Refuse a Job Offer While Keeping the Door Open

It might be intimidating to turn down a job offer, but it doesn’t have to be. What’s the best approach to respond when you’re confronted with the prospect of turning down a job offer but simultaneously keeping the door open for future opportunities? Here are three strategies to make use of:

1. Be Upbeat

When declining the new position, remain polite and only speak good things about the company and the people you interviewed with. Tell them what you enjoy about the company, and if you have any negative thoughts, it’s best to keep them to yourself.

2. Give a Succinct Reason for Your Decision

The right and courteous thing to do is not leave a hiring manager in the dark about why you’re refusing the position, especially if you’ve spent a lot of time interviewing. Keep in mind that there’s no need to go into detail about the red flags you noticed in your would-be employer, brag about the incredible perks of the job you did accept, or complain about how you’ve been debating your decision for the past week.

The ideal way is to be succinct but honest about why you are unable to take the employment.

3. Appreciate Them for Their Time

When the process has progressed as far as a jopb offer, your interviewer or interviewers have invested a great deal of time on you. They’ve met with you, studied you, and checked your references. And in return, you got to practice your interview skills, gain insight into the workings of this company, and get to know industry professionals that you may encounter again in the future.

If you are refusing an offer, thank the Hiring Manager profusely and express your gratitude for their picking you and providing you with this chance, despite not taking up the role. It always helps to maintain healthy connections and leave a good impression.

Have More Questions?

If you’re learning the ropes of product management, it helps to have some support. Product Gym is a lifetime membership program for Product Managers, PM job hunters, and product people of all sorts. Getting people jobs in product management is our bread and butter: that makes us very good at assessing where you’re at in your job hunt and equipping you with the knowledge and skills you need to kickstart your dream career in product management. And that includes necessary information like how to navigate the ins and outs of job offers.

If you want to learn more about the ins and outs of Product Manager skills and job search tactics, get in touch with us! We’re offering free career coaching sessions with our in-house team of PM Recruiter experts. We’d love to hear from you.